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restaurant reports

« vintage, region tasting Burgundy '02 2.2 | Main | Morimoto Menu NYC »

January 31, 2006

Comments

Larry

The liquid in your saucer is extra sake, and the overflow is meant to symbolize good luck. When I'm at Tomoe, I pour the overflow back into the cup.

It sounds like you won't go back, but if you do, I would recommend the following:
- kaki foil yaki
- spicy toro tartare
- tuna yook hwe
- salmon skin regular roll (guaranteed not to be your traditional salmon skin roll)
- spicy tuna hand roll
- spicy hotate hand roll

Is spanish mackerel "obligatory"? How about trying the regular mackerel? That's pretty good to me, and it sure beats Ise's on W 56th (which someone referred to me, to my great dismay).

You're right in that Tomoe is in a different class of sushi compared to Masa or Morimoto. Or Gari, for that matter. As you wrote, I also think that Tomoe is the best of what you're calling "American style" sushi. However, you're doing several things that are not really fair.

1) Compare Tomoe to Masa or Morimoto. Tomoe never strives to put itself on the level of Masa or Morimoto.
3) Why call out Tomoe's fish as being gassed? Do you know this is true and can back it up with proof?

I would never put Tomoe into the upper tier of, well, "fancy eats." But when it comes to reliable, fairly priced sushi, I'll be standing on line in the cold along with everyone else.

Here's a story. I was having a remarkable omakase at Jewel Bako Makimono (with, among other things, parrot fish, barracuda and seared uni sushi), when a woman sat down at the bar next to me, perused the menu, and ordered a california roll. What could be less exciting than that?

augieland

I appreciate your comments. As far as it goes here are my quick thoughts:
1 cannot understand the idea of spicy toro, the joy of toro is its inherent richness, adding a mayo based sauce (which the one I had that night was) to it seems crazy.
I am sure the fish is gassed based on its color and its corresponding lack of flavor, other then this disproportion I have nothing else.
I guess what I am saying is walk up to the sushi bar at Morimoto have a single piece of tuna for I believe 7:50 then do the same at Tomoe for I believe 5 dollars and compare the two. I don’t want to get involved in the discussion of fancy, what I will say is for 50% more money you end up with a 1000% better product and that is the value of authenticity. I have put the sushi menu for Morimoto on augieland, look at it, it is not that much more expensive, but it is that much better. That is what I resent about Tomoe and all the others like it.

As far as your Jewel story. The first time I ate at Morimoto Philly around course 12 of 1g 2 guys sat next to me at the bar and ordered 3 California rolls. The then proceeded to have this conversation:

Idiot 1 “you know who else has really good sushi?” my ears perk up, not being a local and actually being interested.
Idiot 2 “no who?”
Idiot 1 “Wegman’s”
Idiot 2 “yea I know, have you tried Shop Right”

All true.

Larry

Hi Augie, I wanted to follow up on your response.

1) I think Tomoe's spicy toro tartare is really tasty. Abomination of the spicy mayo or not. I went through a phase where I refused to eat nigiri sushi, deciding that the rice was a waste. Thankfully, I've returned to my senses.

2) I really don't know much about fish gassing so I can't say much more on the topic. Perhaps it is. And, truth be told, there have certainly been evenings when I though the flavor was awfully thin. There's no room for error with sashimi.

3) I suppose you have a point about "paying 50% more for 1000% better quality fish," but the notion of going to Morimoto just to have sushi seems like a waste of time. If I muster the dollars I'll be making a bee-line for that omakase table. Sushi will just taking up space that should be occupied by the omakase! By way of comparison, I've been to Nobu a few times and I'm always surprised when people talk about the sushi. Maybe it's because I've only ever had the omakase at Nobu, which as you may know offers a course of respectable but extremely unremarkable sushi near the end. As as an average guy, negotiating the reservations line when I've got a last minute jonesing for sushi seems counterintuitive.

I did look carefully at Morimoto's menu and the first thing that catches my eye is that $33 toro tartare. Okay, so it has osetra caviar in it, but come on, there's got to be a healthy margin on that item. A $48 rib-eye? But I digress - I know you're referring to just the sushi menu.

Maybe I'm looking at it all wrong. Maybe the sushi is a loss leader and the real trick is to go down to the lounge and order the sushi. I could try to follow your tip to get to know the waitstaff, but I envision being one in a sea of scene-flockers. On the other hand, I've been going to Tomoe for probably six years now and I do know the staff and the comfort factor is certainly there.

I guess the only way to find out will be to get over to 10th Ave and find out myself.

augieland

Larry,
I like your allegiance, being a regular somewhere is what makes life nice. I will simply say, I don't discuss places like Cru, Hearth, GT, Otto, or any other place where more then half the staff has learned my name, and I theirs, without suspecting it is some how skewing my perceptions.

To address your thoughts I will say:
1, go to Moriomoto get the chu toro sashimi and that mayo glop will never taste the same. Pleasing yes, but hey people like eating Doritos, they seldom argue they are good.
2, There won't be evenings when the fish is less good at Morimoto, or gari, or masa, or even jewel. Consistent quality must be the most important thing in sushi, accepting less is wasting, time and money. Don't support a bad market.
3, Morimoto has a sushi bar, literally for walking in sitting down and eating sushi, do it you’ll see.

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